Perfectly understandably the extended family of
the Monarchy is terrified that one day terrorists will kidnap and ransom one of
Their press office put considerable pressure on the BBC to drop the serial
altogether and if the show had only been in the planning stage possibly that is
what would have happened. By the time the royal household intervened we had been
'shooting on location for several weeks and all the freelance people - actors,
director, stunt men, had been contracted so quite a lot of money was
involved. A compromise was reached - the show continued but the child became the son of
a diplomat and all the dialogue referring to 'The Prince' or 'Prince Rupert' was
re-voiced. When the producer came to the rehearsal room to tell us of the
decision to change the name and character we were all disappointed. A
couple of actors wanted to resign. Instead of working on one of the most controversial,
special and important drama serials of the year, we now just doing another
Police and Terrorists production.
Right or wrong? Not sure - a real pity for the success of the show -
Arden Winch's original idea that a royal child is held to ransom by terrorists,
for a million pounds, is of course very eye catching. The possibility that
our production might heighten the danger of a Royal child being kidnapped is
indeed something that I would not want to be responsible for.
When I asked a
high ranking Royal Protection Police Officer where they got ideas for surveillance
and protection equipment from he said sometimes from movies like James Bond! So
do terrorists sit watching telly to pick up ideas? When you think how many Royal
children there are in the extended Royal Family. How they go to 'normal'
schools. Even with 24 hour armed Royal Protection officers watching them,
they cannot follow them everywhere, so they are possibly, especially vulnerable.
I had the opportunity of meeting some of the countries top security experts
in both civilian and royal protection and was surprised at the gadgetry
available. Small transmitters that can beam a 'normal' looking TV signal
to a particular TV and put on it news programs - references to the ransom moneys etc to
give dis-information to kidnappers watching their TV. Pin headed cameras that can be inserted in
tiny holes in a dividing wall to obtain pictures of what's going on inside - the
normal tasting food, sandwiches etc and water that may be handed to terrorists
holding a hi-jacked aircraft that will give most people diarrhea causing toilets
to become full or blocked and the stench unbearable. And.....
The most worrying people I met were the SAS. (It was all SAS reservists
who did the running over roofs and final rescue of the child and it was choreographed
by an ex SAS stunt man/fight arranger.) Very friendly nice guy BUT
with a total unshakeable belief in the right of Queen and Country. A willingness
to kill anyone who stopped them doing their job. They are trained to kill
without thought or guilt if so ordered. I am fairly certain that the standing
order, in counter terrorist operations, is to kill when ever possible rather
than allow the terrorist the publicity - fame - of a public trial. Very, very
hard men and I wonder, when they leave the Regiment, how most of get on in
civilian life? - Mainly they find careers in protection or security.
One very interesting aspect of the show for a director was that the
'Terrorist' characters never have any scenes with the 'Police' characters.
Blood Money was shot partly on film, for the action sequences - establishing
the public school from which the boy is taken and in the rest in the television
studio. I decided to shoot and rehearse the two groups -Police -
terrorists - entirely separately
- one week I would do all police and the next all terrorists. This was
interesting as it meant I had to make certain the same 'style' of acting was
used by both casts and there was some curiosity by each group as to which was
better - more interesting. It also created a bonding with each group - the
terrorists all bounced ideas off each other and became very much a gang.
The police/home office characters were different because of the social and
political hierarchy involved. Interesting to see how 'the system' can stop
the easy flow of information and sometimes be counter productive.
DVDs of the production are available from
This should go to my IMDb page